Drives and Controls Magazine

Oil depot blast hits APT and Parker

01 December, 2005

Oil depot blast hits APT and Parker

The UK headquarters buildings of Amir Power Transmission (APT) and Parker Hannifin in Hemel Hempstead were both damaged when the nearby Buncefield oil depot exploded into flames on 6 December.

APT`s premises suffered structural damage, and the force of the blast dislodged asbestos panels in a warehouse that it owns, but does not occupy. In Parker`s HQ, windows and doors were blown out.

The buildings were empty at the time of the Sunday morning blast, which registered 2.4 on the Richter scale. Both companies had to evacuate their premises for about a week.

Fortunately for APT, which is Bonfiglioli`s official UK distributor, the company had moved its production to the Midlands about a year earlier, so this work was not affected. Without the move, "there would have been major disruption," says Saheed Khodadoost, APT`s sales and marketing director. Some staff transferred temporarily to the Midlands site.

The blast dislodged cladding on APT`s building. "The force of the explosion was amazing," says Khodadoost. "A lot of work will need to be done."

Parker House is Parker Hannifin`s administrative centre for the UK. No manufacturing takes place at the site. The company`s business systems were unaffected by the blast and were operated remotely while the building was unoccupied.

Initial estimates put the cost of damage to businesses and homes near the Buncefield depot at around £250m.